Singing the praises of the Kia Sorento

by Petrol Mum

The Kia Sorento has received a full make over inside and out; the result is a sharp-looking exterior, modern interior, combined with improved safety technology. But most importantly the seven-seat Sorento still offers plenty of flexibility for families looking to comfortably carry their clan.  

The all-new Sorento has a 5-star ANCAP (2020) rating (for diesel variants only) with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 31.23 points out of 38 (82%) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 42.09 points out of 49 (85%). Passive safety includes dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags. Plus a centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes is also standard on all variants. The Sorento Sport has a standard rear view camera with front and rear sensors.

Driver safety aids on the Sorento include autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car, Vulnerable Road User and Junction Assist), adaptive cruise control, as well as a lane support system (LSS) with lane keep assist, lane departure warning and emergency lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, and a speed assist system. The effectiveness of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as GOOD by ANCAP.

ANCAP tests of LSS functionality showed GOOD performance, with the system intervening in some of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios. The overall performance of the LSS system was classified as GOOD and the ANCAP Safety Assist score for the all-new Sorento is 89%.

The Sorento has child seat restraint points located in the second and third rows, with two ISOFIX points on both rows and rear tether points on each of the five seats. Parents will be interested to know that when the third row is occupied there is still enough room in the boot for five school bags as well.

To access the third row seats you press a button on the side of the outer second row seat and this seat slides forward to reveal a gap large enough for an adult to step through and there is hard plastic located on the floor where you step in. Of course for this to occur there  must be no car seat fitted on the second row seat you use to access the third row, because the seat would not be able to move forward enough for people to get in.

For convenience there are moulded handles behind the C-pillar to help smaller children step into the third row. And to make it easy for third row passengers to let themselves out there is a button on the shoulder of the second row outer seats, which moves the second row seat forward.

I could fit in the third row, but I would not want to be there for any great length of time as my head was touching the roof and my knees were sitting up. If tween-sized children are using the third row you need to conscious of the head rest height as they are not adjustable. They are either fully down or fully up and depending on the height of your children it may be unsuitable for them to sit in the third row because of this.

Third row occupants get their own climate control settings for fan speed and there are air vents on the side and under the second row seats. On the wheel arches there are rigid cup holders and a storage cubby for a tablet-sized device. I liked that there was a single removable carpet mat across the floor of the third row for easy cleaning.

The second row has a 60/40 split so the seats can be moved independently; this has the advantage for potentially fitting three car seats here as the movement allows greater spacing between the shoulders of the car seats. If two adults are sitting in the second row there is ample head and leg room even with the second row seats slightly forward to allow more room for third row passengers.

If only the two outer seats are in use the central seat folds down as an arm rest with three rigid cup holders in it. There are additional cup holders located in the door arm rest and drink bottle storage in the door cubby below. The second row passengers get central air vents with open/close and air speed direction controls and under these are one 12V outlet and one USB port. Again the second row has a single removable carpet mat that makes cleaning easier and also protects the carpet on the transmission tunnel from wearing due to children stepping over it.

Once you have dropped the children to school the third row 50:50 spilt folding seats can be the can be manually lowered to create a large boot area for the weekly shop. Annoyingly the boot has a manual open/close operation, but I liked that under the boot floor there was an area to neatly store the cargo cover and some space for maybe a change of spare clothes for your children or other must-carry necessities that you may not need to access all of the time.

The boot has hooks to hold back the third row seat belts when they are not in use and if you need the entire rear cabin for carrying extra-large items there is a button to electrically lower the second row seats flat. The boot also has two hooks, four tie down points, one 12V outlet and the full-size spare wheel is located under the car.

I appreciated the height of the Sorento as I did not need to step up or down in order to get in. I did not like however that the Sorento Sport did not have hands-free keyless entry, I had to get the key out and press a button to unlock the SUV and then insert the key to start the vehicle. I didn’t realise how much I missed not having keyless entry and keyless start until I didn’t have it and as a parent I think it is a must have on any family car, because we inevitably have our hands full most of the time.

All of the seats are covered with nice-looking black cloth, with the driver’s seat getting 10-way power adjustment including 2-way lumbar support. The passenger seat only has manual adjustment though for forward/back, recline and height.

I liked the new dash design of the Sorento, particularly the textured plastic in front of the passenger and on the doors. One feature I was not keen on though is the small lower air vents below the main vents, mainly because I could not individually open or close them.

Under the leather-look arm rest there is a removable ledge that you could store your sunglasses on and if you remove this the space in the cubby would be large enough for a small handbag. In the centre console there are two rigid cup holders and at the front of the centre console there is a deep storage area for your phone with three USB ports. I did find that the front door cubby storage was not large enough for my bigger-sized drink bottle.

The 10.25” colour touchscreen display is also a nice addition and includes 10-years access to traffic information and map updates for the satellite navigation. The front seat passengers can set the temperature for rear seat passengers using the climate controls. Or if you or your back seat passengers are in the need for some relaxation then you may like to use the Sounds of Nature that are available. The choices available include Lively Forest (the favourite of my family), Calm Ocean Waves, Rainy Day (not recommended if you have children who immediately need to go to the toilet as soon as you get in the car), Open-air-café (should you want to recreate a café ambience while you are actually sitting in your car watching weekend sport drinking your takeaway coffee), Warm fireplace, and Snowy Village.

Voice control in Kias only works when your phone is connected with a USB via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to the infotainment system, but I did like that the image used to designate voice control on the steering wheel is an androgynous silhouette.

The Sorento has active all-wheel drive combined with an 8-speed dual clutch transmission and the ride quality is comfortable. I found the 2.2 litre, turbocharged common rail diesel engine was quiet both inside the cabin and out. The engine produces 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque, which is enough to enable easy overtaking in this large SUV and there are four on-road drive modes; Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart, and three off-road drive modes; Snow, Mud and Snow. The official combined fuel consumption is 6.1L/100km and I used 8.3L/100km for my week with the Sorento.

All new Kias come with a 7-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty and one year of complimentary Roadside Assist. Owners can renew their Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to eight years, by simply returning their vehicle to an Authorised Kia Dealer for its annual scheduled services. Membership will remain valid for one year following your scheduled service, and will be renewed if an Authorised Kia Dealer completes the vehicle’s next scheduled serviced within one year. For the Sorento, service intervals are every year or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and the total service costs for the seven year period are capped at $3,463.

The all-new Kia Sorento is a family friendly seven-seat SUV that provides both the driver and passengers with comfort and practicality. The drive-away price for the Sorento Sport model that I drove is $53,290, plus $695 for the Steel Grey premium paint colour. Visit your preferred Kia dealer to test drive the Sorento with your family.

Child seat restraint points on all five rear seatsNo hands-free keyless entry or keyless start
Air vents for each row of seatsManual opening/closing boot
Sharp-looking large SUVVoice control only works with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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